When anyone is restored to the relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, his or her old sinful nature remains (Rom. 7:18). But God gives every believer a new nature. The two natures are contrary to one another and creates great conflict in the life of every believer (Gal. 5:17). The chart belows distinguishes the differences between the two.
Every believer in Christ is sealed by the Spirit of God until the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). A seal indicates safety and security. All believers are secure in Christ from the moment of faith because the Holy Spirit keeps them safe and secure.
However, every believer is still capable of living sinfully due to the fact that the old nature still exists. Do you still get angry? Do you still lusts for things? Do you have hate in you heart? Do you ever lie? Are you envious? Those things come from the old sinful nature that we are born with, also referred to as the flesh (Rom. 7:18; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23).
Many church leaders down play the power and/or deny the existence of the old nature in the life of a Christian. But most of the New Testament is written to believers to instruct them not to live like the unbelieving world. These instructions wouldn’t be unnecessary if believers no longer could be controlled by the old nature. Why would the apostle Paul command the Ephesian church to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11)? Why would he command believers to put off the old man and to put on the new man (Eph. 4:21 -24)?
When walking in the flesh (the old nature) I sin. It’s not possible to please God when walking in the flesh. However, as I walk in the Spirit it is impossible to sin (I John 3:9). The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22, 23).
If you have understood and believed the gospel; that Jesus, the God/Man, died for our sins and rose again, then you have been delivered from the penalty of sin. You are born again. You will never perish (John 3:16). Now learning how to walk by faith should result.
Walking by faith is a moment by moment choice. This is learning to develop my relational skill with God through His word (the Bible) to respond to the situations of life His way, not my way. This takes time. No one does it perfectly. And no one arrives to perfection on this side of eternity.
Growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” is the pathway to obedience and to spiritual growth (II Peter 3:18). Real spiritual growth will never happen by denying the power and/or existence of the sin nature in the child of God.
I invite you to follow me as we explore together God’s amazing grace and assurance of heaven for anyone who has believed the gospel.